In this swing tip video, we are going to look at the best way to get you rotating your body during your golf swing, without causing you to slide. Rotation during your golf swing creates a great deal of power and club head speed and it allows you to move into the correct impact position to then transfer the speed of your club head into the golf ball and create maximum shot distance.
Sliding does not create the same club head speed as you swing and it causes you to move beyond the optimum impact position. This then results in you struggling to connect the club head well with the golf ball and gives you problems with controlling the direction of your shots.
If I place a golf bag next to my left leg (for right handed golfers) and take up my golf stance, I can now make my backswing. Sliding would see me moving my hips laterally to the left on my downswing and into the golf bag so that my left hip moves over and outside the position of my left foot. If you think you may be sliding during your golf swing, try this drill and see if your left hip nudges the golf bag.
To rotate well during your downswing, your pelvis will turn towards the golf bag so that the zip on your trousers finishes flat to the golf bag but does not nudge it. If you struggle with this movement try the following drill.
Stand with your back flat to a wall and take up your golf stance but without your golf club. Make your backswing movement and you should feel that the right side of your backswing touches the wall. This is correct. To rotate during your downswing, you now need to move the left side of your backside on to the wall, over your left foot and allow the right side of your backside to come away from the wall. This now has you rotating your hips and pelvis correctly. Work on doing this and then swing your arms down as though to hit the golf ball. Continue the rotation in your pelvis so that the seam of your left trouser leg now moves on to the wall and allow your right foot to rotate so the shoe laces of your right shoe face where your target would be. Once you have become comfortable with this movement, begin to replicate this at the practice ground or range when you are hitting balls.
Place your golf bag on the left side of you when you are hitting balls and work on making the action in your pelvis discussed above. This should get you rotating the zip on your trousers towards the bag and up against it but without nudging into it and you should see that your strike and accuracy improves, plus you hit further shots than before.
Swing Tips – How to Rotate Your Body without Sliding
Rotation is the engine of your golf swing. Even if you do very little else right during your swing, making a great rotation both back and through will help you tremendously as you attempt to generate power. Unfortunately, many amateur golfers seem to get confused on the topic of power generation. Rather than turning back and through the shot, many players will slide from side to side as they swing. Needless to say, this is a serious mistake. If you are sliding from side to side as you swing, there will be very little power to use when you arrive at impact.
Learning to rotate your body during the swing without sliding is one of the best lessons you can learn as an amateur golfer. Few improvements you can make in your swing will be more important than adding to your rotation while taking away a slide. Next time you have a chance to watch professional golf on TV, pay attention to the swings of the top players. Are they sliding from side to side? No – not at all. The top players in the world all use rotation to create power, and you should be doing the same. While you might not be able to play on their level anytime soon, you can still learn a lot from their techniques.
Rotating rather than sliding is about much more than just power. Sure, you will produce more power when you focus on rotation, but you will also find it easier to contact the ball solidly at impact time after time. Sliding from side to side makes it extremely difficult to make solid contact, as the bottom of your swing is going to be a 'moving target'. By rotating, you will keep your center of gravity in place and the club should arrive perfectly at the back of the ball more often than not. Once you learn how to rotate correctly, you will likely wonder how you ever played any other way.
Before we get into the specifics of learning how to rotate your body correctly, it needs to be noted that you shouldn't expect immediate results when you work on this part of your technique. It is a great idea to work toward a swing with improved rotation, but there are sure to be some struggles along the way. If there is currently a significant slide in your swing, it will take time and practice to eliminate that move. You have learned how to compensate for that slide over the years, and you can't wipe out those compensations in just a single practice session. To see real results, you have to be committed to the big picture on this point. Dedicate yourself to a better turn and don't give up when you run into some struggles – stick with it and look forward to the reward of better golf in the end.
All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
The Basics of Body Rotation
The way your body rotates during the golf swing is relatively simple. It is important to get it right, however, as incorrect rotation can ruin an otherwise useful golf swing. Most golfers know they at least need to make a good shoulder turn going back away from the ball, but there is more to it than that. The shoulder turn is indeed a key ingredient in successful rotation, but you have to have the other pieces in place as well in order to develop a powerful strike.
The points listed below highlight the basics of successful body rotation in the golf swing.
- Knee flex. You probably don't think first about your knees when discussing body rotation, but maintaining flex in your lower body is actually a major part of turning correctly in the swing. Without knee flex, you will not have the support you need to make a proper rotation. Your knees should be flexed at address, of course, and they should remain that way throughout the backswing and downswing. Work on mastering an athletic and comfortable setup position to give yourself a great platform on which to make an aggressive body turn.
- Left shoulder under chin. Simply thinking about making a big shoulder turn is not specific enough to be effective. You need to send specific directions from your mind to your body if you want to execute the swing accurately time after time. For that reason, it is a good idea to think about moving your left shoulder under your chin as you swing back. If you can successfully hit on this point, you are sure to be left with a nice shoulder turn. Of course, to get your shoulder under your chin, you are going to need to keep your chin up off of your chest. Make sure your chin is up at address while your eyes are still looking down at the ball. This key will not only help you to make a better shoulder turn, but it will also improve your overall posture as well.
- Lower body starts the downswing. For the average amateur golfer, this is where it starts to go wrong. Most players are able to learn how to make a shoulder turn in the backswing without too much difficulty, but that is only half of the body rotation process. Without using your lower body to start the move down toward the ball, your shoulder turn will have been a waste of time. It is extremely common for amateur golfers to get 'lazy' with their legs at the top, instead allowing the arms and hands to transition the club into the downswing. This is the move that leads so many players to hit a slice. As the club arrives at the top of your backswing, you need to use your lower body to rotate toward the target. This rotation will gradually bring the rest of your body – and eventually, the club – along for the ride. Think about it this way – the shoulders control the backswing, and the hips control the downswing. Divide up your swing by that basic rule and you are sure to be on the right track.
- Finish the job. Another common mistake associated with the body rotation in the golf swing is to stop rotating as soon as impact is reached. While the ball is technically gone, you need to keep swinging on through to a balanced, full finish. Why is this important? Simple – if you are thinking of the ball as the end point of the swing, you will actually begin to slow down the club before you even reach impact. To make sure you are delivering as much power as possible into the back of the ball, make it your goal to arrive at a full finish after every shot. Even if you aren't feeling particularly confident over the ball at address, commit yourself to a full swing and a complete finish. When you are dedicated to finishing your motion, the shots you hit should come out successfully more often than not.
As was stated above, body rotation is not complicated. It is important to get all of the pieces just right, however, which is why you need to spend as much practice time as possible on this part of your game. To make progress on this point without even leaving your house, consider working on your body rotation in front of a mirror at home. Without a club, take a pretend stance and go through the motion of swinging back and through. Make sure to use your shoulders to power the backswing while your lower body takes over during the transition at the top. Some simple at-home practice without using a club will go a long way toward improving your rotation during your next visit to the driving range.
Signs of a Slide
Even if you know the proper technique that you should be using to rotate fully during your swing, it is still possible for a slide to work its way into your game. Even professional golfers struggle with sliding to the right or left from time to time, so don't feel bad if you make this mistake on occasion. The best things you can do is to be aware of the possibility of the slide, and to watch for the warning signs. When a slide does start to infiltrate your technique, you should take immediate action on the practice range to put your rotational move back on track.
So how do you know if you are sliding during your golf swing? The signs below should be an instant warning of trouble.
- Pre-swing shift. If you have trouble starting your golf swing, you may find your weight shifting to the right as a way to get things going. This minor shift doesn't seem like a big deal, but it can easily turn into a bigger slide as your backswing continues. The first move of your takeaway should be the club head moving back away from the ball – not your lower body shifting away from the target. It is important to think about rotation right from the very start of the swing. Turn your back to the target and keep your center of gravity perfectly centered between your feet. It will take a little bit of practice to eliminate the pre-swing shift, but this is an important step toward keeping a bigger slide out of your swing.
- Leaning back during the follow through. Even if you get through the backswing in good shape, you can still run into trouble if you slide at some point during the downswing. Commonly, amateur golfers will wind up leaning away from the target when their swing is finished because they have slid to the left. Rather than using their lower body to rotate to the left, these players will slide left from the top of the swing – costing them both balance and power. If you make this mistake in your game, think about using your left hip more effectively. As soon as you reach the top of the swing, open your left hip to the target as quickly and aggressively as possible. Doing so should set in motion a rotational action which will allow you to remain balanced while building club head speed all the way down.
- Hitting the ball fat. Are you regularly hitting fat shots with your irons? If so, you may be sliding at some point during the swing. Since a slide will move your center of gravity around as you swing, it is likely that you will hit the ball fat frequently until you eliminate that slide from your game. Players who hit the ball fat often think they have done something wrong with their hands or arms – but it is usually a balance problem in the end. Work on remaining balanced while you turn and those fat shots just might disappear in the near future.
It is important to get your swing back on track as soon as possible when you notice a slide begin to develop. In golf, problems become harder to solve the longer you allow them to remain problems. It pays to be proactive with the mechanics of your swing. Take some time as soon as possible to correct your flaws and your game will be better in the long run.
Stay Within Yourself
As you can gather by this point in the article, rotation in your golf swing is good – and sliding from side to side is bad. While that sounds simple, you will likely find it hard to follow this rule at all times while you practice and play. Why? One reason many golfers struggle to avoid the slide is the fact that they are trying to hit the ball as hard as possible at all times. Somewhere throughout the history of the game, golfers turned their attention from control to power. That was not a healthy shift, as it has made the game far more difficult for millions of players.
Make no mistake – golf is a game that is all about control, first and foremost. Yes, power can help you play better golf, but that power is completely useless without control. In a match between a short hitter with pinpoint control and a long hitter who is all over the course, the short hitter will win time after time. The obsession with distance in the modern game is not helping anyone post lower scores. If you are willing to step away from that trend and focus your game instead on controlling your ball nicely, you will be impressed with the results.
To do a better job of staying within yourself out on the course – and to lessen the chances of sliding as a result – start by taking more club on your approach shots. That's right – you shouldn't always be using a club that you will need to hit flat out in order to reach the target. For instance, imagine you are facing a basic approach shot of 150 yards. There is no wind to deal with, and the terrain is flat between you and the hole. You can hit your eight iron 150 with a good swing, so you should pull the eight iron from the bag, correct? Not necessarily. Rather than going all-out after the eight iron, consider using your seven iron while making a controlled, balanced swing. You will be far less likely to slide during the swing while hitting a soft iron shot, and you should make solid contact more frequently as a result. Unless you have a specific reason for wanting to hit the shorter club – like hitting the ball higher and with more spin – opt for the longer option and take a softer swing.
This concept gets a little more difficult to execute when you are playing tee shots. Of course, you are still going to want to use your driver for many tee shots throughout each round, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. However, you need to be careful to keep your driver swing in check. Going after your driver with 100% effort simply isn't necessary, and doing so will wreak havoc on your mechanics. Practice on the range hitting your driver with only 80% - 90% effort and carry that level of effort out onto the course. With a softer swing, you will retain most of the distance you achieve with a bigger swing, however you will add a tremendous degree of accuracy and control.
If you are willing to overlook the need to hit each of your shots as far as possible, you will find that it is much easier to keep the slide away from your golf swing. In addition to staying slide-free, softening your swing will help you to make better contact, hit your targets more frequently, and generally exert a higher level of control over your ball. Set your ego aside, use softer swings to navigate the course, and look forward to adding up a lower score at the end of the day.
Sliding Hurts Your Short Game as Well
There isn't much of a need to rotate in the short game. Whether you are putting or chipping, you won't find the need to make much of a rotation in order to hit good shots. After all, you need very little power in order to reach the target, and rotation is all about generating power. With that said, you do need to watch out for a damaging slide in the short game, even though you won't be rotating much at all. If you slide from side to side when trying to play short game shots, it will be extremely hard to hit the target with any kind of consistency.
While chipping, a slide will be a problem because you will struggle to make solid contact. You need to catch the ball cleanly while chipping in order to control your distance, but that simply isn't going to happen when you slide from side to side. Instead, you need to remain nicely balanced while simply using your hands and arms to swing the club back and through. As long as you keep your weight in place and your head still, you should see the ball pop up out of the grass nicely over and over again.
When it comes to putting, you don't want to be moving your body around at all during the stroke. You don't need to rotate, and you certainly don't need to slide. The only things allowed to move during your putting stroke are your hands, arms, and shoulders. Everything else – including your head, torso, legs, and even feet – needs to be perfectly still. Staying still while you putt is going to make it easier to hit your target line, and your speed control will be better as well.
During your next practice session, pay attention to your balance in the short game. If you feel any kind of shift taking place, stop what you are doing and work on eliminating that mistake. The short game is just as important as the long game when it comes to shooting low scores, and your short game will never live up to its ability if you continue to slide. Taking the slide out of both your long game and short game is the best way to maximize your abilities on the course.
The idea of rotating rather than sliding during the swing is a classic golf tip – easy to remember, hard to execute. Spend some time during upcoming practice sessions focused on controlling your body during the swinging action. If you can take any degree of slide out of your technique, you will be a better golfer in the long run for the effort. The results you are looking for might not show up immediately, but they will come around if you are patient enough to stick with the process. Good luck!